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by Abigail Van Buren

Nursing Student Needs Primer on Rules of the Dating Game

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 21-year-old nursing student in college. I'm a "people person" and everyone says I'm easy to talk to. According to my friends, I am pretty, smart, funny, etc., but I have never had a boyfriend.

I was extremely sick throughout high school and during my early college years, and spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. I missed not only a lot of schooling, but also learning some of the basic social skills most people my age have mastered when it comes to dating. It has been only during the last couple of years that I have been healthy enough to even consider dating, and now I have no clue what to do.

I am naturally friendly and sometimes guys I'm not interested in think I'm flirting with them. However, when I try to flirt with a guy, it never works. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and my friends all gave me different advice. Do you have any tips for me, Dear Abby, on how to let a guy know I'm interested? -- LOSING THE DATING GAME IN FLORIDA

DEAR LOSING: Yes. Be your outgoing, friendly self with everyone. Don't be afraid to smile and make eye contact. That's the way you let others know you're interested. The problem with "trying" to flirt is that it can come across as awkward and aggressive, which can either bring you the wrong kind of attention or scare a man off.

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